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Need compost? Here are 3 ways to make it without spending money on elaborate tumblers or bins – Berkshire Eagle


Screened compost is ready to add to garden soils or be used as a component of potting soil.

I recall a friend of mine getting upset whenever someone referred to their garden soil as “dirt”. Dirt, he claimed, is what we sweep under the rug. Soil, on the other hand, is the substance in which we grow plants. However, successful growth of plants requires that a soil be healthy, that is, has good texture and structure, is well-drained, nutrient rich, and consists of at least 5 percent organic matter.

The organic matter component is the least stable of factors and must be constantly replenished. In natural systems, such as forests and grasslands, this is accomplished via the cycles of growth and death of vegetation. On the other hand, as gardeners, we routinely pull up or rake up dead plant material. That’s not all bad since some of the plant material harbors pests and diseases. Nevertheless, unless there is a replacement of organic matter in soil, the quality of the soil, and therefore the successful growth of plants, is diminished.

So, how does one replace or sustain organic matter in garden soils? The answer is simple: add compost to the soil. Compost, often referred to as “gardener’s gold” or “black gold”, may be purchased, but is also something we can easily produce at home. To paraphrase an old saying: “compost happens”. It is nothing more than the decomposition of organic matter such as leaves, grass clippings, yard and garden wastes, kitchen scraps (plant materials only), certain animal manures, and even wood chips.

A simple compost bin can be made with a cylinder of sturdy wire fencing. A downspout, with drilled holes, is placed in the center of the bin to allow for more aeration of the decomposing material.

There are many ways for gardeners to make compost. You could spend money on elaborate compost tumblers and bins. However, there are far less expensive …….


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